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General Education Essentials: A Guide for College Faculty Paperback – May 29 2012

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass (May 29 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118321855
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118321850
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.2 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 322 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,444,337 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


“There are so many things I could say about this book:

  • It is THE ONE BOOK for academics to get up to speed about reforming general education.
  • It is written by a faculty member for faculty members who aspire to educational leadership.
  • It is written in the language, and with the perspectives, of faculty.
  • It is an excellent primer—short, easy to read, and eminently useful.
  • Faculty leaders should be required to read this book before speaking publicly about curriculum change.
  • Academic administrators ought to buy a copy for every faculty member serving on a general education review or revision committee.”

—Jerry Gaff, senior scholar at Association of American Colleges and Universities

“In this thoughtful and useful overview of general education, its premises, values, and practices, Paul Hanstedt offers a guide to framing programs that are engaging and effective for both students and faculty members. Thinking about general education and its role in liberal learning has come a long way within the past two decades, and Hanstedt enables us to follow and appreciate what has emerged as an increasingly broad consensus.”
—Paul Gaston, Trustees Professor, Kent State University, and author of The Challenge of Bologna

“Finally, a thoughtful book, designed specifically for faculty, on General Education curricula and programs. While much has been written about general education over the past several decades, Hanstedt cuts to the chase and speaks directly to faculty about the theoretical underpinnings and conceptualization of GE and the powerful opportunities for learning that it presents to undergraduate students.”
—Susan Gano-Phillips, professor and chair, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan - Flint, and author of A Process Approach to General Education Reform: Transforming Institutional Culture

“At last! For those of us in higher education who have struggled through attempted revisions of core curriculum with little or no success, Paul Hanstedt’s General Education Essentials provides a framework that blends theory and practice, helping us rethink the purpose and meaning of liberal education. Through curriculum that facilitates connections among the disciplines rather than the acquisition of knowledge isolated in proverbial 'silos,' Dr. Hanstedt describes ways to construct general education models as well as individual courses that hone the critical and creative thinking competencies needed to develop global citizens for the 21st century. Dr. Hanstedt’s intelligent approach is grounded in experience, and he speaks in an authentic voice that faculty will recognize of the opportunities inherent in a revitalized liberal education program. In outlining concrete models of integrated learning and meaningful assignments and assessments, Dr. Hanstedt’s research and practice can assist any campus in taking that first step into what can become a transformative experience for faculty and students alike.”
—Patricia Dwyer, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, Wesley College

From the Back Cover

General Education Essentials

"Full-time and part-time faculty in any discipline and at any size campus with any type of mission can pick up this volume and learn something that will help her or him improve teaching and learning. "--From the Foreword by Terrel L. Rhodes, vice president for Curriculum, Quality, and Assessment, Association of American Colleges and Universities

Every year, hundreds of small colleges, state schools, and large, research-oriented universities across the United States (and, increasingly, Europe and Asia) revisit their core and general education curricula, often moving toward more integrative models. And every year, faculty members who are highly skilled in narrowly defined fields ask two simple questions: "Why?" and "How is this going to affect me?"

General Education Essentials seeks to answer these and other questions by providing a much-needed overview of and a rationale for the recent shift in general education curricular design, a sense of how this shift can affect a faculty member's teaching, and an understanding of how all of this might impact course and student assessment.

Filled with examples from a variety of disciplines that will spark insights, General Education Essentials explores the techniques that can be used to ensure that students are gaining the skills they need to be perceptive scholars and productive citizens.

"This is THE ONE BOOK for academics to get up to speed about reforming general education." --Jerry Gaff, senior scholar, Association of American Colleges and Universities

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa1e59d44) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1e7b810) out of 5 stars Hugely comprehensive about the insides of Gen Ed, would have liked to have seen more about the "outsides." April 9 2015
By MysteryPoodle - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
General Education classes are the ones that "everybody has to take," usually for a liberal arts degree. These are the math and history courses that the English major has to take, the business classes that the Sociology major has to take. Usually taught by the same people who are teaching the classes for students who are majoring in the subject, Gen Ed classes are a bit of a red-headed stepchild; students often don't have a passion for the subject in question, they're just there because they have to be. As an educator, it's good to stop once in a while and attempt to remember why these classes are important, and I think that's the basic reason this book was written.

This is an extremely comprehensive book about General Education classes in college -- what they should be, what they shouldn't try to be, and how they relate to "major" areas of study. When I say "comprehensive," I mean it -- the book goes into detail about the goals and considerations to use when creating assignments in these classes, for example.

One chapter titled "The chapter you'll want to skip" is about assessment. I'd like to lift the chapter on assessment and have everybody re-read it before they have any meetings about assessment. It's not revolutionary stuff, but it is a reminder of how assessment SHOULD work -- it should not be busywork for instructors, but should actually feed into structure for improving the course; it should not be 'extra' assignments but, since the assignments should be based on course objectives, the assessment should provide a useful measuring stick for how well the objectives are being met. And assessment should be drive by the instructors, not forced by administrators. Title of the chapter, notwithstanding, I liked this chapter best of all.

My lack of enthusiasm about the book overall is partly because it is rather pedantic... if you were a space alien who had never heard of Gen Ed, this would be the book for you. The other part is that I wish the book considered Gen Ed courses from OUTSIDE the discipline in question, i.e. if you are the Sociology instructor, what should your responsibility, concern and involvement be with those business classes? As an instructor in "Career and Technical Education" (that would be the new name for "Applied Science" and "Vocational Technology / Vo-Tech" in case you're like me and had no idea), one constant area of friction is that I get students who cannot read and process a technical article, and who cannot create an essay, but they have passed their Gen Ed courses, often with high marks. I would have liked to have seen more in the book about the responsibility that the Gen Ed courses have for setting foundation for everything else, and also about what expectations in unrelated disciplines should be with regard to students who have passed Gen Ed courses.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1e7c1d4) out of 5 stars Meeting the Challenges of Educational Integration March 18 2015
By Bror Erickson - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As the subtitle of this book points out, this book is for faculty struggling or facing integration models for general education. It is written for an entire faculty looking for ways to bring some cohesiveness to their institution’s teaching and learning experience, and thereby give the student body a better product by equipping them for an integrated world in a better way. It is also for the individual faculty member who is grappling with how much or how little to include in his 101 courses in order to integrate his class into the overall goals of the core curriculum models.
The book is filled with plenty of helpful advice and a plethora of models to help facilitate and think about all these issues, and yet it avoids trying to give one size fits all programs that would ignore a university’s own institutional traditions and cultures.
This book will be helpful reading for anyone involved with a university system as a faculty member, adjunct professor, department chair, administrator or advisor, or as a member on a board of regents. It confronts many issues pertaining to college and university education and the needs of students and the world they are being prepared for. Those involved with Alumni organizations may also find this book helpful to understand the issues facing their alma maters in today’s world.
Parents who are beginning the search for universities to which to send their children will also find this book helpful in allowing them an understanding of the challenges facing university education and to better critique how individual universities are meeting those challenges while preparing students for the future.
HASH(0xa1e7bc90) out of 5 stars Valuable Reading for Higher Ed Faculty, Administrators, and Graduate Students April 2 2015
By Freudian Slips - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
General education courses are the Rodney Dangerfield of higher education -- they get no respect. Required in virtually all college curricula, they are the obligatory courses that faculty and students are "stuck with" either teaching or taking. Faculty would often prefer to teach more advanced courses to students who have self-selected their major, and students view these courses as roadblocks to what they really want to study-- in other words, something to get out of the way. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In this excellent book, Dr. Hanstedt makes a strong case for using general education courses as a means to introduce students to a liberal arts education, helping them appreciate its value while seeing the relationships and connections between various fields of study. He broadens the rationale for offering and taking the courses, and provides particularly valuable guidance by presenting syllabi from model courses around the country. For instance, one of the courses he highlights is called "Traveling Without Leaving: Global Sociology" and instead of just being a typical introduction to sociology, the course provides for an enlightening discussion of variations in cultural practices, an introduction to sociological methodology, the importance of developing a global perspective, and an opportunity for students to write about their own experiences in a different culture. The course also introduces students to key economic concepts as well as family and gender issues related to different cultures.

By providing such clear guidance and ideas, this book would be quite helpful particularly to new faculty who may not have received much pedagogical training during their graduate programs in the area of general education. In addition, as the general public increasingly dismisses or devalues a liberal arts education, this is a text that liberal arts institutions in particular should study because it will help shape courses which will clearly articulate the necessity of a cross-disciplinary liberal arts focus to understand broad societal issues.
HASH(0xa1e7c600) out of 5 stars Going beyond a distribution to a more integrative model of general education March 30 2015
By OnceMore - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
In the United States, educators have long recognized that whatever field of study a student may want to major in, the student at a minimum needs exposure to courses outside of his or her major for a more well-rounded education. This goal undergirds what is known as the distribution model of general education, where students are required to take at least two courses in, say, social sciences, arts and humanities, mathematics, natural sciences, a foreign language, and physical education.

A more recent model of general education known as the integrative model aims to go beyond the well-rounded education goal to more deliberately engaging students in reflecting upon the relevance and impact of areas of studies outside their major to their communities as well as their own development as practitioners of their chosen field of study. Integrative general education courses have a natural (as opposed to a forced) interdisciplinary bent, and assignments typically require students to think critically about the interrelatedness of these multi-disciplinary influences to their areas of study.

Discussing in greater detail the differences between the two above-mentioned models of general education and how they're addressing 21st century job requirements, this very well written book provides a few illustrative curricula, syllabi, and sample course descriptions. It also discusses some potential implementation problems and suggested ways to address or handle them.
HASH(0xa1e7c7c8) out of 5 stars Fantastic resource April 2 2015
By Epilady - Published on
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product
As an adjunct to two universities, one of which is redesigning its curricula for a bachelor's program, this was an interesting read and a good find. Hanstedt gives real and practical examples and issues a mea culpa for an earlier assessment that general education didn't belong in specific programs. His point is that foundational skills taught under the umbrella of general education leave students richer for the process, as well as enable them to continue honing the craft throughout a major.

It includes some suggested syllabi and course outlines for several different approaches. They are thoughtfully written and would be easily adapted. The focus is primarily on getting kids to have some more hands on and/or using assimilative learning techniques to more thoroughly understand, as well as higher order thinking. There is no rote memorization, but an approach towards learning that will only aid students.

The index is well-laid out and comprehensive. Overall, this is a fantastic resource for college admins and professors to consider during the yet another round of curricula redevelopment.